In 1963, the Civil Rights movement was falling apart. After a
series of setbacks across the south, the movement was losing direction and
momentum. No southern city was more divided than Birmingham, Alabama, home of
the infamous Bull Connor.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. conceived an ingenious plan: fill the
Birmingham jails by arranging a series of public protests at which participants
would be arrested as a result of their nonviolent action, paralyzing the city
and drawing national and world attention to the horrors and injustices of
segregation. But the stakes were too high for much adult participant in the
movement—job loss, jailing, and quite possibly even death. Instead, against Dr.
King’s better judgment, young people led the protests.
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